Russian pic 'Raiders' sets Yanks Carradine, Nevsky

MOSCOW — Russian producers are amping up production of English-language product with Hollywood names, with the production of “Treasure Raiders” starting in Moscow.

Pic is directed by Brent Huff (“100 Mile Rule”), and written by Czar Pictures’ Alexander Izotov, who co-produces with Alexander Nevsky and Robert Madrid.

Top billing goes to David Carradine and former Mr. World champion (now based in California) Nevsky, playing an American professor and Russian biker who become caught up in a search for local historical treasures.

Czar Picture’s biggest project to date was “Moscow Heat,” which had Nevsky playing a rogue Moscow cop opposite Michael York as a retired Western diplomat who ends up in Russia in an attempt to track down the mafia killer of his son.

Released at the end of last year, it took in upwards of $1.1 million in local release, as well as achieving a healthy slate of international sales, according to producers, including DVD release in the U.S. this fall.

Multiplexing Moscow

Once a flagship of the Soviet exhibition scene, Moscow’s Oktyabr (October) venue will reopen Sept. 8 as a multiplex — at the end of a reconstruction process that has lasted almost eight years. With nine screens and a total of 3174 seats (the main auditorium alone has 1518 seats), the location looks set to become a dominant player in the city market.

Moves to turn the Soviet-era giant into a plex began in 1997, initiated through a subsidiary of Vladimir Gusinsky’s Media-Most holding. Investment came in at around the $35 million mark — considerably more than the cost of building an equivalent venue from ground up in the city’s suburbs, where many rival developers have been concentrating their recent efforts.

Distrib Karo, which will run the new plex, also runs Moscow’s largest screen, the 2,500 seater Pushkinsky venue. Its sheer size isn’t always an asset in everyday programming, however, with local reports that it will close by the end of the year to be redesigned as a plex. If that’s the case, then the Oktyabr will become Moscow’s main central prestige location.

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